I start by assessing all of my students on the 220 Dolch Sight Words. Although my county suggests that we start on List 1, I always start with Pre-Primer and Primer words because many of my firsties come in not having mastered these Kindergarten words. My goal is to see where each child is at to help best meet their needs. I do not want to skip over Kindergarten words for those who need them. At the same time, there is no reason to be giving one of my higher readers basic sight words when they need to be challenged like everyone else.
Once I have a baseline, I create Sight Word Rings for each student. I simply hole punch the corner of index cards and use a key ring to attach them together.
I then select the first 10 words that the child was unable to read instantly (within 3 seconds) and record one per side of the index cards. For students who are really struggling I do not suggest more than 5 words per week.
The 10 words this child would have on their ring are " down, said, where, new, now, out, saw, that, there, they"
Each month I highlight the words they have mastered in a new color on their overall tracking sheet. As you can see, children are able to work at their own level. It does take a decent amount of time to test each child but I usually try to schedule time with a parent volunteer or assistant for this purpose. Once they get the hang of the routine this is a simple yet meaningful task for them.
Once a student masters all of their Dolch Sight Words (I have 4 first graders already this year!) I begin them on Fry's Top 1000. I start with list one and repeat the same process as before, just adding new lists as needed. I print multiple copies of the pages from this source here and keep them in a folder, all ready to go.
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